Q&A: Ray Romano

The sitcom king on TV sex, money and saying goodbye

Ray Romano speaks during the CBS 2005 Television Critics Winter Press Tour at the Hilton Universal Hotel in Universal City, California, on January 18th, 2005 Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

"Everybody Loves Raymond," TV's top sitcom, is going off the air after nine years. Has the show been good or bad for your sex life?
Well, it couldn't get any worse. I think the only way it has affected me is I got to have fake TV sex.

How is that different from real sex?
Not as much crying. And there isn't somebody standing there with a boom mike.

Maybe that'd enhance things.
All they'd hear is me saying, "Wake up."

Tell me something a close friend knows about you that most people don't.
Oh, man, I don't know -- the black toenail or the small testicle. Take your pick.

When you see a crowd of people, can you tell which ones are fans of the show?
Old women with walkers, and their moms.

I always hated the name of your show. So tell us: Who doesn't love you?
I hate myself enough for everybody. My wife loves me, but she's not impressed by me. When the show first aired, I told her I was going to Vegas, and she was a little put off by that. I gave her a speech, saying millions of people just saw me on TV. And she said, "You're still the dick I married." So it's good, when you have a show called "Everybody Loves You," to have somebody who knows you're actually a dick.

How has fame affected your marriage?
Well, most nights, after I put the kids and dogs to sleep, I gotta go and talk a little bit with my wife. I don't say much. Once, we were watching my show, and after a scene with my TV wife, she said, "You just spoke to her more than you spoke to me all week." And I said, "Well, we have writers on the show. If we had writers here, we'd be having long, funny conversations."

You were the highest-paid guy on TV, making $1.5 million a show. What's the stupidest thing you've ever spend money on?
Last summer I went to New York to work on a movie script with Kevin James. I took a chartered plane, stayed in the Four Seasons for five nights, spent about $80,000, and we ended up eating pizza and going to Mets games. God, I hope my wife doesn't read this. I bought a $6,000 video-tape-your-golf-swing system three years ago that I haven't even opened up. And I bought a '69 Cougar convertible because my brother had one when I was twenty and he was eighteen, and he wouldn't let me drive it. Basically, it's a home for spiders now in my garage.

Traditionally, this is the point where sitcom stars vanish off the face of the earth. Are you planning to take some time off?
Not voluntarily. In six months, I'll be riding around town with a REMEMBER ME? shirt on. I'll do stand-up. I hate my act. I haven't written a new joke since the show's been on, so it might be time for some new jokes. And if people can forgive Welcome to Mooseport, then I'll do another film.

How do you think your funeral's going to compare to the pope's funeral?
I can't think of a joke on that. Is it still too early to do pope jokes?